Immigrant pepper sprayed, arrested |

Immigrant pepper sprayed, arrested

Park City police officers arrested a man in a Main Street restaurant-bar Friday evening, shooting the man with pepper spray during a struggle that slightly injured the two officers.

Phil Kirk, a Police Department captain, said the 38-year-old man was wanted on a warrant for a drunken-driving charge filed by the Utah Highway Patrol. The Summit County Sheriff’s Office said the police booked him into jail on three additional charges, including assaulting a police officer and interfering with an arrest, stemming from the Main Street capture.

The Summit County Jail is holding the man, Filemon Leon Sanchez, for federal immigration officials. He is from Mexico. Kirk said the man had been deported but returned to the U.S.

The Police Department received a tip that Sanchez was at Doolan’s Sports Bar & Grill. A sergeant and a detective went to Doolan’s, which is on the 700 block of Main Street, and saw him sitting alone inside.

They approached him and told him he was under arrest. Kirk said Sanchez stood up in a confrontational manner. The officers tried to force him into handcuffs, but Sanchez resisted, Kirk said. The sergeant then shot him in the face with pepper spray.

"He wasn’t turning around and putting his hand behind his back," Kirk said.

The officers handcuffed him after the shot of pepper spray. The sergeant told a person in Doolan’s to call 911 to alert police dispatchers of the incident. The Park City Fire District was summoned to flush Sanchez’s eyes.

Kirk said the two officers suffered minor injuries, but he did not provide details.

He said the Police Department is investigating the use of the pepper spray, a standard procedure when an officer uses force. Police records show no incidents involving pepper spray in 2007.

"They tried other levels of force — verbal commands, hands on" but Sanchez did not submit to the arrest, he said.

Third District Court officials at Silver Summit said Sanchez in 2005 faced four charges, including weapons and narcotic counts. They were dismissed. The reason for the dismissals was not immediately clear.

Kirk said about six people were in Doolan’s when the officers arrested Sanchez, at about 9 p.m. He said the officers confronted him inside because they did not want to wait for him to leave. He has eluded capture before, Kirk said.

A crowd of onlookers gathered as Sanchez was led outside and treated by an ambulance crew. They watched from several vantage points on lower Main Street.

Kevin Doolan, the owner of the restaurant-bar, said Sanchez was not a regular customer. Friday might have been his first time at Doolan’s, the owner said.

Doolan, who was not there when the arrest happened and was briefed on the incident by a bartender, said Sanchez was inside for about an hour before the police arrived. He was watching television while sitting alone at a table in a back room, Doolan said.

"It was more surprised and shocked," Doolan said about his place being the setting for the arrest. "It wasn’t good for business."

He said the arrest is the first such incident at Doolan’s, but he is pleased Sanchez was taken into custody. Doolan, however, said he would have preferred the police waited until Sanchez left to arrest him or, if possible, tell the workers at Doolan’s what was about to happen.

"When it comes to your business, it’s ‘Why?" he said.

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